All creative businesses have at least three target markets, and most business owners are ignoring two of them.
Yep, it’s true. You’re probably neglecting people who would love to hand over their credit cards to you.
The three markets I’m talking about are: 1) the people who want to buy your product (the necklace, mittens, handbag, body scrub, etc.), 2) the DIYers who want to make it for themselves, and 3) the people who want to learn how to start a business like yours.
You’re always going to have customers who want your product, made by you.
They don’t have the time or skills to make it themselves. They just want to order it, get it and use it.
Like the customer who buys your organic apricot facial scrub for an indulgence. She’s recreating the spa at home, and the last thing she wants to do is battle traffic to go to the grocery and health food stores to hunt for all the ingredients and then come home and create a disaster, including piles of dirty dishes, in her kitchen while trying to make the scrub herself. That defeats the point for her. She’d much rather pay you $16.
But, you’re also always going to have customers who love to DIY and troll Etsy and Pinterest for stuff they can try to make themselves.
Instead of buying your embroidery hoop art, they’d love to buy a PDF pattern of your adorable bumble bee design to embroider it themselves.
You might never want to sell to DIYers, especially if you’re the type of creative who could never imagine giving out her trade secrets. And, that’s okay.
But, it’s important to recognize that those people exist and that there’s potentially a lot of money to be made.
Why would you want to sell to that market? Well, I’ve got a few good reasons:
1. Lots of times when you’re selling patterns, ebooks, or tutorials, you only have to create something once and then you get to sell it over and over and over and over and…well, I think you get it. Basically, you can sell it while you sleep, without having to wake up the next morning and make each thing you sold. It gets delivered upon purchase, so you make more money without having to do anymore work. Talk about magical.
It’s much easier than creating every product by hand. In that scenario, you’re trading money for time and you can never get more than twenty-four hours a day. You’re limited to how much you can make—product and money-wise.
I’ve worked with creatives who’ve added patterns and tutorials to their revenue streams and doubled or tripled their profits in a couple months without adding more work hours to their days. Sounds kinda great right?
2. There’s a huge DIY population, people who love to make and create and who would never ever buy your handmade products because they want to make the stuff themselves. For example, I’m a knitter so I hardly ever buy hand-knit products. But, I do buy lots of knitting patterns.
3. You can serve people who can’t afford your handmade products. I’m a huge Alabama Chanin fan but $3,860 for a dress is a big deal for me. I didn’t spend that much on my wedding dress and I’m not a millionaire. So, I’ve been creating my own Alabama Chanin pieces (my poncho is almost done!) with the help of the Alabama Chanin books and patterns. I still support her business by buying her books and fabric.
This isn’t the right direction for every business, but it’s something to contemplate because it works really well for many creative businesses.
You have the option of making your patterns and tutorials available for personal use only—that way you can still sell your handmade creations without direct competition.
And, then there’s the third market: the people who want to learn how you do what you do so they can start a business like yours.
Knitters who want to sell their own knitted creations. Illustrators who want to learn about licensing and how to break into the freelance scene. Jewelry artists who want to know the ins and outs of setting up their own jewelry business and selling retail.
They’re looking for classes, books, guides—anything that’ll help them get there faster.
If you’re a natural teacher and love public speaking, this is another market you could tap into and make money from.
You could write a series of ebooks, put together workbooks, offer online courses, teach in person, and apply to speak at conferences. The options are unlimited thanks to the glorious internet.
If you can’t fall asleep at night cause you’re wondering how you’re going to make your handmade business work long-term, these other revenue streams might be just the thing that’ll derail your nightmares and allow you to sleep easy.
If you’re getting overwhelmed by the amount of creating you have to do every day to make your business profitable, these other revenue streams could free up your time while overflowing your piggy bank. Cha-ching!